After a long break and a chance to watch Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo participate in a two game dismantling of poor Costa Rica, the Reign return to league action for a repeat match against the Houston Dash team that they beat 2-1 at home last Wednesday.
That comeback win at Memorial clinched a playoff spot for Seattle and — combined with a Chicago stumble — put the Reign five points clear in the race for the NWSL Shield. We've since learned that winning the Shield no longer means hosting the final (since the league belatedly announced the final will be played at 'neutral' Portland), which takes some of the luster off. But still, winning the Shield in consecutive seasons would be a tremendous achievement.
The Dash, meanwhile, are just hoping to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. At 5 points out of 4th with only three games left the outlook is dire. A loss tonight would put them in the position of needing a miracle to make the postseason. A draw is barely better. . they really need a win.
To get that win they'll likely have to rely heavily on Carli Lloyd, who was almost completely shut down in the teams' previous matchup. She also played significant minutes in the two-game USWNT series this week and the weather in Houston will be up around 90 degrees at kickoff, which certainly won't help her energy level. If Seattle can silence her again and show the usual flair that they have in Houston over the last couple of seasons, they'll be in good position to get at least a point out of their last road match before a two game homestand that could see them clinch another Shield.
The bad news is that this one might be harder to watch. This one will be broadcast at 5pm on Fox Sports 1 — Seattle's only regular season match on national TV. Online streaming will be available if you can convince FoxSportsGo that you have a cable package that includes FS1. There's no coverage on FoxSoccer2Go, even if you pay for it. So no option for cable cutters or fans outside the US. Sorry. If it makes you feel any better, the league might have gotten some money for the deal and some of that money might have gone toward picking up lunch for players who make less than minimum wage.